Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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The Red Wing man and Ellsworth woman sought in a western Wisconsin shooting case were arrested in Barron County, authorities announced Thursday. A post on the Barron County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page said the suspects, previously identified as Red Wing resident Shawn Goplen and Ellsworth resident Kari Blank, where taken into custody at the Rice Lake Dollar General store.
A former Hudson dentist's legal troubles intensified last week when a malpractice suit was filed against him in Minnesota. Andy Mancini, the Woodbury man who operated Hudson-based La Petite Dentistry until it closed in April, is being sued in Washington County District Court by two St. Croix County women who allege he was negligent in his services for their children. The suit, brought by Hudson resident Rebecca Viebrock and New Richmond resident Lisa Vansomeren on behalf of their children, names Mancini, La Petite and Figero Crowns as defendants in the case.
HUDSON — A St. Croix County judge must reconcile conflicting statements in deciding whether to proceed with a terroristic threats case against a teenager or to toss it out. A preliminary hearing for Nicholas Cherrier revealed differing accounts of a statement that serves as the linchpin in the prosecution's case that the 18-year-old made threats to "shoot kids." He's charged with felony terroristic threats and disorderly conduct stemming from the March 30 incident at the town of Hudson-based Nor-Lake refrigeration company where he worked.
A Hammond woman was killed and two other people involved in a Memorial Day weekend crash were seriously injured, according to Polk County authorities. The Polk County Sheriff's Office said 57-year-old Brenda Soderberg was killed in the May 27 crash, reported at 11:30 a.m. on Highway 46 just south of Amery. She was the passenger in a pickup driven by 63-year-old Keith Soderberg, who was airlifted to Regions Hospital. The Hammond man was listed in critical condition Tuesday.
A simple misinterpretation might well be the difference between justice being served and an unsolved murder that's vexed St. Croix County investigators for 25 years. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to solving the April 25, 1993, shooting death of William "Junior" Clapp came when it was reported as a medical call. St. Croix County Sheriff's Office investigator Cary Rose said the man who discovered Clapp in his town of Warren home told dispatchers what he observed at the time — that his friend had injured his head.
Two people from southeastern Minnesota was hospitalized Friday after the motorcycle they were on struck a deer on a Pierce County roadway. The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said 47-year-old Robert Hoth and 50-year-old Cheri Hoth were airlifted after being thrown from the crash, reported at 7:06 p.m. May 18 in the town of Maiden Rock. Deputies said the crash occurred on Highway 35 near 452nd Street, where the motorcycle, driven by Robert Hoth, ran into a deer. The crash sent the southbound bike into a ditch, where the Rochester residents were ejected.
A Red Wing man and an Ellsworth woman were being sought by authorities Monday in connection with a western Wisconsin shooting. The Dunn County Sheriff’s Office said arrest warrants were issued for 34-year-old Shawn H. Goplen and 36-year-old Kari L. Blank. The sheriff’s office said Goplen and Blank were suspects in a shooting reported at 10:42 p.m. Sunday in Dunn County’s town of Tainter.
Kelda Roys isn't fazed by the parade of fellow Democrats also seeking to be Wisconsin's next governor. The Madison woman believes she stands apart from the 13 other Democrats in line to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker in November. She said her status as a Generation X parent who's a small-business owner with legislative experience separates her from the pack. "I'm deeply invested in the future of our state," said Roys, an attorney who served in the Assembly from 2009-2012.
A hunter's close encounter with two bears in St. Croix County has prompted a warning from Department of Natural Resources officials. The incident, which occurred May 13, involved a turkey hunter at Betterly Waterfowl Production Area, where he was approached by a yearling bear that came within 10 feet. The hunter first tried scaring the bear off by yelling at it — and then noticed a second, larger bear nearby. The hunter began walking away, but was pursued by the smaller bear. The hunter fired a warning shot into the air, which sent the yearling bear running.
Hudson High School's junior varsity girls soccer coach was placed on administrative leave after allegedly sending lewd images to a player on his team. St. Croix County prosecutors on Friday charged 23-year-old Hudson resident Benjamin J. Schrock with causing a child to view sexual activity and exposing a child to harmful material. He was ordered to post a $2,500 cash bond at his initial court appearance. Bond conditions require Schrock to be fitted with a GPS device and to surrender his passport.